How To Lower The Alkalinity In Your Pool
In this guide you’re going to learn how to lower the alkalinity in your pool .
To lower the alkalinity in your pool, try using a strong acid like muriatic acid, sodium bisulfate, or sulfuric acid all of which will lower the alkalinity.
If your pool water is a little murky or your pool filters seem to be plugged with calcium deposits, then your pool may be suffering from high alkalinity levels.
In today’s post, you’re going to learn all about water alkalinity, what causes your pool alkalinity to get too high, and how to lower it.
Let’s dive in!
Guide: Raising And Lowering Pool Alkalinity
Alkalinity plays a key role when it comes to pool chemistry, and thats why its necessary for anyone who maintains a swimming pool to have some knowledge about it.
So in this article, I’ll talk about pool alkalinity from all angles, including what it is, how it works, why you need it, how you can lower and increased it when not appropriate.
Take Readings Again After 24 Hours
The next day, a full 24 hours since I started my test, the total alkalinity had gone down to 120 ppm. This is not the 100 ppm target value I set, but I was still impressed since 120 ppm is already within the recommended value for a standard swimming pool.
On the other hand, pH was lower, reading 7.1. I didn’t worry too much about this because according to my digital pool water test kit and pool calculator, the lowest it pH can go is 6.8 and still be okay and non-destructive. Plus, the aeration process wasn’t finished.
Since both chemicals were within a reasonable range, all was fine for me. So I waited to take my next reading in the evening, approximately 5 to 6 hours later. At that time, TA was ranging at 106 ppm, and pH had dropped to 6.9.
This means that total alkalinity was inching closer to my target value of 100, despite pH going down.
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Testing And Decreasing Water Hardness
Test the pool water for hardness. Dip a test strip approximately 18 inches below the water surface, or as directed by the test manufacturer. Remove the strip and wait until the color changes to indicate the hardness level. Compare the results to ideal levels of between about 200 and 400 ppm.
Drain a portion of the pool water to adjust the water hardness. In areas with extremely hard water, it’s common practice to drain a portion of the pool water yearly or every two years. Consult a local pool supply or pool professional for more information. Water varies tremendously even within a small region, and a professional can test your water precisely and explain what works best in your area.
Fill a portion of the pool water capacity with softened water or order water to be delivered by a truck. Softened water, such as tap water treated by a water softener, will lower the hardness. Too much, however, will decrease the hardness to detrimental levels and necessitate a hardness increaser. Commercially purchased pool water is already treated and balanced, giving you a head start on conquering your pool chemistry problems, and is as easy as running the truck’s hose to your pool.
Test the hardness level again after seven days. During this period, the minerals bind with the chemicals to form larger molecules, which are then flushed out of the pool through the filtration system. If the hardness levels in a week still test high, re-treat the pool.
Things You Will Need
How Important Is Your Pool Alkalinity
The ideal pH level for your pool water is slightly alkaline at 7.4 to 7.6 (to clarify, Im talking about alkaline on the pH scale, not total alkalinity. This lean towards alkaline is intentional because its where chlorine works best, as well as being easy on your skin and your pool equipment. There is some wiggle room here, but not all that much.
Unfortunately, pH is extremely sensitive and can quickly be thrown out of balance by temperature changes in the water, not to mention foreign substances such as rain, debris and even bodily waste.
Thats where good alkalinity comes in. The solution to maintaining your pH level is to add a pH buffer, which is exactly what alkalinity increasers are. You can almost think of alkalinity as adding a layer of armor to your pH, absorbing fluctuations and keeping your pool chemistry stable.
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How To Lower The Alkalinity Of A Swimming Pool
A clean, inviting swimming pool is a pool in chemical balance. Factors such as pH, free chlorine, calcium hardness and cyanuric acid influence one another and should be monitored regularly and adjusted to specifications when necessary. Total alkalinity is another important interdependent parameter. The alkalinity of pool water helps stabilize the pH factor. Alkalinity above 120 parts per million tends to elevate pH readings. It also diminishes the effectiveness of chlorine and gives pool water a cloudy appearance. If routine water analysis with a pool test kit indicates a high TA reading, add commercially available swimming pool muriatic acid in liquid form.
Turn off the pool circulation pump.
Put on safety glasses and gloves.
Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for muriatic acid to determine the total amount of acid required for your specific pool volume to lower the alkalinity to the desired parts per million. To avoid making the pool too acidic, dont add more than 1 quart of acid to the pool for each 10,000 gallons of pool volume at any one time.
Prepare a diluted solution of acid by adding the recommended amount of liquid muriatic acid to 1 gallon of water in a bucket. For safety reasons, when diluting acid, always pour acid into water, not water into acid.
Pour the diluted gallon of acid into the deepest part of the pool in a single, tight stream so it sinks to the bottom at one spot. Dont disperse the acid around the pool.
What Is Pool Water Alkalinity
Not to worry.
Water alkalinity is a measure of how much acid it can neutralize.
In the swimming pool, it acts as sort of a buffer to stabilize pH levels, which is important to prevent scaling and other pool problems.
Pool alkalinity is measured at total alkalinity and it is simply the amount of alkaline substances in the water.
In a swimming pool, the bicarbonate alkalinity is the substance that needs to be regulated.
It should be between 80 and 120 ppm .
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Can You Swim In A Pool With High Alkalinity
High alkalinity itself is not necessarily an unsafe swimming condition.
It can, however cause some water issues that could potentially make it unsafe, such as:
- Unstable pH levels
In other words, use caution.
Its better to go ahead and stay on top of keeping your pools levels balanced than to risk unsafe or unclean water.
Causes Of Low Pool Alkalinity
If your pools pH level is on the way down, this will eventually begin to influencein this case, loweryour alkalinity along with it.
A decrease in pH can be caused by excessive rainwater entering the pool and diluting the water, acid rain which can directly drive both your pH and alkalinity levels down, and even bodily fluids from swimmers such as sweat and urine .
And while pool shock can raise pH as explained above, commonly used chlorine tablets have a very low pH. In other words, if you let too much dissolve into dissolve in your pool water, it will lower your pH level and alkalinity along with it.
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Pool School 104 Total Alkalinity
Total Alkalinity Increaser 25lb Bucket
In Pool School 103 I talked about pH and how people get confused with the terminology when we refer to the pH being either Acidic or Alkaline, so Pool School 104 is where we are going to clear up that confusion and explain why this mineral level in the pool is important.
When we are talking about Alkalinity we are really talking about Total Alkalinity, which is a measure of all the alkaline minerals, dissolved into the pool water. Remember when the pH is above 7.0 the pH is considered alkaline, but here we are talking about alkaline minerals dissolved into the pool water not pH .
The question often posed to us is Why is Total Alkalinity important? There are actually two mineral balances that are important to your pool water and water in general they are Total Alkalinity and Total Calcium Hardness. In this class I am just going to talk about Total Alkalinity and I will address Total Calcium Hardness in Pool School 105.
You will want to remember this for this class and for the next class water wants a certain water balance, if it does not have that balance then it will go looking for it in whatever vessel it is being contained in. So in our case it is the surface of the pool that will be in jeopardy if the water is out of balance. Vinyl and painted surfaces will be the most often affected if your Total Alkalinity is not properly maintained.
Jim GarrisonThe Guru of Pools atAegean Pools.
Causes Of High Pool Alkalinity
If your pools pH level is on the rise, this will eventually begin to influencein this case, increaseyour alkalinity along with it.
An increase in pH is tends to come from body lotions or sweat washing off into the pool, as well as potentially using a high alkalinity water source to fill up your water.
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Dilute Muriatic Acid As Directed And Add It To The Water
The pool in my example holds 20,000 gallons. To get my target value of 100 ppm, I needed to add about 2 quarts of muriatic acid.
I usually distribute the muriatic acid solution slowly around the pool while the pump is running high to increase the effect.
Some pool managers prefer adding the muriatic acid solution in one spot. Personally, I don’t like to do this because acid can damage pool parts when it is concentrated in one region.
The natural process of aeration begins after you add the muriatic acid and the levels of pH and TA have fallen and settled. During the aeration process, the levels of pH alone will rise gradually until it reaches the recommended level.
Ideal Total Alkalinity Range: 125
For balanced water, you want your pools alkalinity to be between 125 and 150 parts per million when using BioGuard® products. Test alkalinity, along with pH and calcium hardness, a few times a week. Because alkalinity can have such a big influence on the pH balance, its important to always adjust the alkalinity first.
Low alkalinity can make pool water unsafe for swimmers, because it can make the water too acidic, causing irritation to eyes, skin, and nose , shrivel your liner, and stain pool walls and equipment. Alkalinity thats too low can also make chlorine useless. With the chlorine shortage, you want to do everything you can to make your existing as effective as it can be.
High alkalinity can result in cloudy water, and high calcium levels which may cause calcium deposits and scale to build up on filters and pool walls. Too high alkaline levels also make the pH difficult to adjust, potentially leading to something known as pH bounce.
With proper alkalinity, achieving balanced water is much less complicated and much better for your chlorine supply.
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How To Raise Ph In Pool Water
We recommend never adding more than 2 lbs or 900g of soda ash per 10,000 gallons of water per treatment.
Starting at the deep end, sprinkle the soda ash over the entire surface of the pool.
Make sure that the pump is circulating to move the water around and then wait at least an hour before testing again.
If the pH is still too low, try adding some more soda ash. Soda ash may make the pool water a little cloudy at first, but it should become clearer after a day or so.
Adjusting Alkalinity In A Pool
For a full summer of fun in your pool, balanced water is essential. The right levels of alkalinity, pH, and calcium hardness keep swimmers healthy, your pool equipment in great shape, and your mind at ease.
We always recommend adjusting alkalinity first as its so important to the pH. Alkalinity is, after all, a measure of how much acid the water can neutralize. Properly balanced alkalinity leads to a properly balanced pool. For the sake of this blog post, were focusing on total alkalinity, but check out our pool chemistry cheat sheet for a handy guide on balancing all the key pool chemicals.
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How To Adjust Alkalinity Inpool Water
Everything you need is to make an estimate of the required amount.Extreme ph changes, also called ph bounce, throw the water out of balance causing a number of potential problems such as ineffective chlorine, metal corrosion, staining, scaling and even physical discomfort like eye and skin irritation.For this, you have two options:How do i adjust the ph and alkalinity in my pool?
How to adjust your pools alkalinityHow to lower alkalinity in pool?How to raise alkalinity in a pool.If the alkalinity is not yet balanced, make sure to adjust it again.
If the ph value or alkalinity is high, the best way to lower it is by using muriatic acid.If you are unsure of how big your hot tub is, our spa volume calculator can help.If you need to increase the alkalinity, add an increaser.If you need to increase the alkalinity, add an increaser.
If your alkalinity level goes above the recommended range, youll need to add a substance to your pool water to help bring it back down.If your water test kit shows your ta is below 80 ppm, then you will need to raise it by adding sodium bicarbonate.In actuality, the water is being influenced by.Increase low alkalinity in a pool with the addition of sodium bicarbonate .
This ability is called buffering.To lower it, youll add a sodium bisulfate.Total alkalinity is the full measure of the total amount of alkaline type materials suspended in the water.Total alkalinity is the measurement of a pool or spas susceptibility to ph change.
What Is Ph And What Are The Issues Related To It
PH is the Power of Hydrogen. PH level is the measure of how much hydrogen ion is present in the water. The concentration of hydrogen ion in the water directs if the water is acidic, basic, or neutral. In other words, it is to measure how alkaline or how acidic your water is.
A range of pH within 0 to 7 is considered acidic, a pH of 7 is deemed to be neutral, and a pH of 7 to 14 is believed to be basic.
What youre trying to achieve is a pH of 7.2 to 7.8, ideal being 7.5.
Like unbalanced alkalinity, if pH level drifts too far from its ideal range, it can damage your hot tub parts like heaters and temperature sensors, and cause corrosion in metal parts.
Once your TA is perfect, you can check the pH level with a test strip. According to what the result is, you can increase or decrease the pH level with a pH increaser or pH decreaser. Add it to the water, and let it circulate for 10-15 minutes. Test the water again if pH or alkalinity is still high, repeat the process.
When you try to lower the alkalinity, the pH will drop faster, so you shouldnt go crazy with the chemicals and do the process using little by little. To lower the alkalinity by 10ppm, you may need 1.6 lbs sodium bisulfate or 1.23 liters of muriatic acid for every 10,000 gallons of water.
Even after chasing the levels up and down, you dont achieve the desired result, the only option left is to drain and refill the tub and repeat the process.
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Why Is My Total Alkalinity Level Too High
You may have added too much sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, when increasing your total alkalinity. You may want to add only a portion of the chemical required to adjust your water and wait between six hours and 24 hours before testing the level. Adding chemicals in smaller increments can help prevent adding too much.
The local water source may be the cause of high alkalinity, as municipal water sources lean toward a higher alkaline water level to prevent corrosion in pipes and sewer lines. So, your local water source may be slightly alkaline. A call to the municipal water company, details on their website, or perhaps you receive a yearly brochure detailing the water quality levels. Knowing this will help during testing and reducing the level, as you might expect the alkalinity to rise on its own as you replace lost water through swimming, splashing, backwashing, and evaporation.
What Should Alkalinity Be In A Pool
As a pool owner, you either know or will find out in time that the pH and alkalinity are two very important features of your pool. Fortunately, you can keep these both in balance when you know what to look for.
The best alkalinity range for a swimming pool is anywhere between 80 and 120 parts per million . Additionally, the best range in pH is between 7.2 and 7.6.
The bottom line is that when your swimming pool total alkalinity exceeds 120 ppm, you need to begin the process of lowering it.
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